While I contribute to a few sites, Grounded Parents will always be my home base. This is because I was here at the launch, and Grounded Parents (and even a Skepchick or two) are my family. We’re not a hive mind, but we’re all parents, we’re all skeptical, and we all share a respect for evidence-based parenting. I can safely say that in essence, we all seek the truth, love our children, and oppose bigotry. If you follow my work, you’ll notice a few common themes, all of which hold a dear place in my heart:
- The potential of biotech to improve the world, both in terms of precision medicine and agriculture
- Pro-GMO sentiment
- The importance of scientific literacy
- Evidence/science-based medicine
- Refuting naturopathic propaganda
- Aversion to unsubstantiated, unscientific fear-mongering and quackery
- Combating hindrance of scientific and technological progress, represented largely by people and groups like the Food Babe, Dr. Oz, Modern Alternative Mama, March Against Monsanto, and Moms Across America.
For some reason, I’ve struck a cord with my readers over the past several months. So I want to explain why this is all so important to me. Oddly enough, the reason is because I’m a parent. These realities never resonated with me this strongly until I held my helpless, tiny, first born on a cold, snowy January evening in Wisconsin. As President Obama once recounted, “Someone once described the joy and anxiety of parenthood as the equivalent of having your heart outside of your body all the time, walking around. With their very first cry, this most precious, vital part of ourselves — our child — is suddenly exposed to the world, to possible mishap or malice. And every parent knows there is nothing we will not do to shield our children from harm.”
I’m thankful to live in an era of life-saving medical technologies, on the horizon of genomic and precision medicine revolution, when biotech holds the promise to feed the world in a sustainable manner. While it’s the sappiest of clichés, I want a world with the most advanced technologies for my kids, with a scientifically-savvy public for the grandchildren I hope to have. Thus, I must project my voice as far as it will carry. So after a few requests, and much deliberation with friends and advisers, I started a “Public Figure” page on Facebook. A couple days after the launch of the page, I ran into a mild case of Impostor Syndrome. Yet I knew I had to continue, so I wrote a heartfelt message to my followers:
To my wonderful, beloved readers and followers:
I started this page a couple days ago, and some of you may be wondering why. Who is Kavin Senapathy to have a fan page? I’ll be candid. I had several requests to start a page, and an increasing frequency of friend requests from readers, to the point where I wasn’t comfortable having that many unknown friends on my personal page.
Still, I love my readers, and a few advisers urged me to start a fan page, assured me that it wasn’t an egotistical move. For awhile, I’d intended to start a “personality page” similar to Chow Babe, Food Hunk, We Love GMOs and Vaccines, Genetically Modified Humans for Monsanto, or Science Babe. Those pages are great, and each stand for their own commendable agendas.
Then I considered further. First and foremost I’m a writer with strong opinions. I’m a mother, and I love my family. I’m extremely pro-vaccine, pro-GMO technology, and pro-biotech. But I’m not just those things. As my dear Walt Whitman would say, “I am large, and contain multitudes.”
I loathe unsubstantiated fear-mongering, especially when it exploits scientific ignorance. I’m not a scientist by the traditional definition, but I have a unique perspective afforded by the intersection of a solid working knowledge of genomics, genetics, and bioinformatics, as well as my identity as a regular mom that truly wants the best not only for my own kids, but as a left-wing Democrat wanting the best for *all* the kids. I’m also an oddball most of the time. For whatever it’s worth, I will use whatever skills and quirks I have to be a loudspeaker for science, to help appease the fear-factor, and to bring back an imperative level of trust in science that is so direly lacking. And I will do this as myself, the one and only Kavin Senapathy. While I applaud the “shill pages,” a lot of them are anonymous (with exceptions like the lovely Science Babe and Food Hunk.) I’ll be open and transparent. If anyone wants to oppose what I stand for, bring it!
Sincerely and respectfully,
This agenda is so very important. I’m not a Monsanto or Big Ag shill. I’m a pro-science mom hoping to get these messages to the public, to make a ripple in the flow of progress. My passion for science literacy and advancement burns in my heart. I’ll continue to do my best to shatter the pseudoscience-filmed windows with word-fists of objective truth on your screens. I will continue to make every effort to live up to my readers’ and followers’ expectations. And I promise, while this was a serious note, I rarely take myself this seriously. =)